Biblical Interpretation Beyond Historicity : Changing Perspectives 7 book cover
1st Edition

Biblical Interpretation Beyond Historicity
Changing Perspectives 7

ISBN 9780367873127
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Biblical Interpretation beyond Historicity evaluates the new perspectives that have emerged since the crisis over historicity in the 1970s and 80s in the field of biblical scholarship. Several new studies in the field, as well as the ‘deconstructive’ side of literary criticism that emerged from writers such as Derrida and Wittgenstein, among others, lead biblical scholars today to view the texts of the Bible more as literary narratives than as sources for a history of Israel. Increased interest in archaeological and anthropological studies in writing the history of Palestine and the ancient Near East leads to the need for an evidence-based history of Palestine.

This volume analyses the consequences of the question: "If the Bible is not history, what is it then?" The editors, Hjelm and Thompson are members of the Copenhagen School, which was formed in the light of this question and the commitment to a new approach to both the history of Palestine and the Bible’s place in ancient history. This volume features essays from a range of highly regarded scholars, and is divided into three sections: "Beyond Historicity", which explores alternative historical roles for the Bible, "Greek Connections", which discusses the Bible’s context in the Hellenistic world and "Reception", which explores extra-biblical functions of biblical studies.

Offering a unique gathering of scholars and challenging new theories, Biblical Interpretation beyond Historicity is invaluable to students in the field of Biblical and East Mediterranean Studies, and is a crucial resource for anyone working on both the archaeology and history of Palestine and the ancient Near East, and the religious development of Europe and the Near East.

Table of Contents


Part I: Beyond Historicity

  1. A New ‘Biblical Archaeology’

  2. Philip R. Davies

  3. Old and New Ways of Interpreting Isaiah 40-55

  4. Frederik Poulsen

  5. Sociolinguistic Perspectives on the Hebrew Bible as Memory Work: Seeing Redactional Work as Entextualization

  6. Trine Bjørnung Hasselbach

    Part II: Greek Connections

  7. Is the Old Testament Still a Hellenistic Book?

  8. Niels Peter Lemche

  9. From Plato to Moses: Genesis-Kings as a Platonic Epic

  10. Philippe Wajdenbaum

  11. Greek Genres and the Hebrew Bible

  12. Russel Gmirkin

  13. When the Septuagint Came in from the Cold

  14. Mogens Müller

    Part III: Reception

  15. Of Qumran, the Canon and the History of the Bible Text

  16. Fred Cryer

  17. Deconstructing the Continuity of Qumran Ib and II with Implications for Stabilizing the Biblical Texts

  18. Gregory Doudna

  19. Canon Formation, Canonicity and the Qumran library

  20. Jesper Høgenhaven

  21. New Children of Abraham in Greenland—The Creation of a Nation

  22. Flemming A. J. Nielsen

  23. Whose Mythic, Rhythmic, Theological and Cultural Memory is it Anyway?

Jim West

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Ingrid Hjelm, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen and Director of the Palestine History and Heritage Project. Author of The Samaritans and Early Judaism (2000) and Jerusalem’s Rise to Sovereignty (2004) in addition to a considerable number of articles within the field of Samaritan studies, the history of ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible. Her latest book, co-edited with Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme is Myths of Exile (2015).

Thomas L. Thompson, Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen and author of some 130 articles and ca. 20 books, including The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives (1974), The Early History of the Israelite People (1992), The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past (1999) and Biblical Narrative and Palestine’s History (2013), currently working as Project Developer on the Palestine History and Heritage Project.


The confidence in the historicity of the Hebrew Bible has collapsed over the last three decades. In this remarkable book, fourthteen writers brilliantly steer the debate away from historical positivism and beyond the deconstruction of the old myth-narratives of the Bible. The collection offers highly original and diverse perspectives on the syncretic traditions of the biblical stories. A work of enormous significance, it shows how new paradigms have come to view key texts of the Hebrew Bible are the product of the Hellenistic era.

- Professor Nur Masalha, SOAS, University of London, UK